baby turtle


ʻAʻohe hanea nui ke alu ʻia – No task is too big when done together by all.

Donate Now to Support the Hawaiʻi Island Hawksbill Project

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measuring turtle

Field Equipment Upkeep

Education and Outreach Programs

Work with the Hawaiʻi Island Hawksbill Project

Background: Since 1989, volunteers from the local community and around the world have aided project biologists with monitoring and protecting nesting hawksbill sea turtles, working with Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park (HAVO) and Hawaiʻi Island Hawksbill Project staff at remote beaches within and adjacent to HAVO on Hawaiʻi Island. This year, the project will consist of 3 volunteers and the term will last from May 13th – November 1st. Volunteers must commit to the entire 5.5-month time period.

Duties: camping 3-4 consecutive nights at remote beaches; conducting day and night patrols to observe nesting turtle activity; handling nesting hawksbills (e.g., restraining, measuring, applying flipper tags); ensuring that hatchlings reach the ocean by monitoring nests, rescuing stranded hatchlings, and conducting nest excavations; recording data in a field notebook and on data sheets; interacting with the public regarding sea turtle conservation; assisting with project logistics (e.g., equipment and camp maintenance, vehicle inspections); hiking 12+ miles or driving on long, rough roads to access beaches; non-native predator control.

Requirements: a positive attitude, diligent work ethic, and love for the outdoors; commitment to the project for the entire term; be at least 18 years of age; possess a valid U.S. driver’s license; be first aid and CPR certified by the start date; be comfortable with camping for consecutive nights in remote areas; be able to hike up to 12 miles per day over rugged lava terrain with a 30+ pound backpack; be a team player and work well with others; be positive in adverse or challenging situations; be able to stay awake late at night; be able to work with minimum sleep. Applicants are not required to have prior experience working with sea turtles or a science background, but it is preferred.

This is an unpaid position. Up to $25 per workday food reimbursement will be provided with submission of food receipts. Shared, dorm-style housing is provided at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.

To apply as a volunteer please submit:
1. A resume detailing your education and information for at least two past job, internship, or volunteer experiences.
2. A cover letter indicating why you are interested in the position, what skills you would bring to the project, your past hiking, camping, and outdoor experiences, your future goals, and how you meet each of the listed requirements for the position.
3. Three professional references (work or school related) that are familiar with your qualifications for the position. For each reference provide a phone number, email, and a brief explanation of your relationship with the reference (e.g., professor for biology course, supervisor for zoo volunteer position).

Submit all documents as one PDF document to with the subject as “2024 VIP Application”. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Mahalo!

Hawksbill turtle